unChristian Christianity

April 10, 2008

books / church / culture / theology

As I’ve said, I have been reading unChristian, written by David Kinnaman of the Barna Group. I just finished it, and want to look at it as a whole.

First of all, I highly recommend the book. It’s worth reading, regardless of one’s situation, knowledgebase, outlook, etc. At Revolution, various people in leadership decided to read it, as we deal on an immediate and intentional basis with the opinions that outsiders to the church have of Christianity and of Christians.

The book’s audience

Second of all, once one decides to read the book it’s a really good thing to know who its audience is expected to be. It is written, mainly but not exclusively, with people that are already evangelical Christians, and most likely not part of the Mosaic or Buster generations.

With that being said, it is not really written to people who are well-acquainted with what is going on between the church and culture in our time. It has much to say to them, but much of it will be stuff that is already known.

The book’s value

I feel like people in the target audience could be shaken by this book, and that they should be shaken by this kind of information. I think it could serve as a bold call to repentance and change in the church.

However, anyone who reads it can and should get a lot out of it. There are great stories, there is great information, and there is a powerful heart being expressed. Consider the following:

We don’t please him [God] by pretending to be perfect or by taking offense at outsiders; we please him by making Jesus real to people, even those that don’t like us. This is how we start to shift way from unChristian faith. We halt our vain efforts to preserve self-image and start trying to be agents of restoration through self-sacrifice and in blessing the lives of outsiders. This is what pleases God.

This is a gripping statement, regardless of one’s current position, and for me it really helps sum up the value and the point of the book. It convicts and inspires me just as much as it should convict and inspire the pastor of a suburban, 100+ year old church.